$90m government boost for West Coast

A $90 million boost is about to be announced for the West Coast, on top of $7 million given yesterday to create a boat repair hub in Greymouth, and a bulk export precinct in Westport.

‘‘This is about creating jobs as we recover and rebuild from the recession caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic,’’ Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

‘‘Because we went hard and early with our health response, we've been able to open up the economy quicker than other countries and get a head-start on our recovery.’’

The $7 million in yesterday's package is expected to create about 35 jobs, and is separate from the $90 million, which is to come shortly.

It includes $3 million for the Grey District Council to rebuild the slipway just off Steer Ave, at the head of the Blaketown lagoon.

With a strengthened slipway, the hope is far larger and heavier boats can dock at Greymouth Port for service and repair.

Mayor Tania Gibson said a port group and a consultant had been set up to run the project.

The slipway had deteriorated over the years, but the mayor said the work would never have gone ahead without the Government's help.

‘‘It really has needed work, we've just not had the funding. It will hopefully bring business to us,’’ Mrs Gibson said.

As well as bringing trade in for the boat repair industry, boats pay a fee to use the port.

Greymouth port.  Photo: Tony Ruru
Greymouth port. Photo: Tony Ruru
Westport gets $2.3 million-$2.4 million, partly to get the port ready for bulk experts of heavy mineral sands by Wellington-based minerals explorer Duncan Hardie.

 

Mr Hardie has just been appointed to the Greymouth-based New Zealand Institute of Minerals to Materials Research.

The Westport fishing port will also get an update, as Talley's expands its fish processing facilities.

A build-up of gravel will be removed from the Buller River, and vital repairs made at the end of the wharf to mitigate the risk of the river punching through and damaging port structures.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine said the ‘‘bulk precinct’’ at Westport would build on what was already there, fencing off a secure area where Holcim had recently stopped exporting cement.

While Mr Hardie's heavy sand exports were not guaranteed, the council was ‘‘pretty hopeful’’.

Extra money would bring forward the expansion of current fish processing facilities at Talley's with an additional 30-plus processing jobs.

Most of the money would go to clearing gravel from the river.

A portion of the $7 million will be spent on repairs to the Jackson Bay wharf.

All the projects are to start within two months. 

Port money

Port funding announced by the Government in recent years:

• $800,000 for a new Greymouth dredge.

• $750,000 for dredging the Greymouth port.

• $125,000 for port feasibility studies.

• $4 million to Grey District Council and Buller District Council to install floating pontoons at Greymouth and Westport ports.

• $500,000 to Westland District Council to repair the Jackson Bay wharf.

 

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